Partnership with WFIRM and ReMDO will Pioneer Biomanufacturing in Space
Regenerative medicine manufacturing in space is the next frontier and will be possible due to a new three-way partnership between Axiom Space, which is building the world’s first commercial space station, the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO), the first organization dedicated to advancing regenerative medicine manufacturing scale-up and automation, and the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), an international leader in translating scientific discovery into clinical therapies.
ReMDO and Axiom Space announced their plans to leverage the translational regenerative medicine expertise of the WFIRM team and Axiom’s leadership in commercial space infrastructure development to advance in-space regenerative medicine biomanufacturing.
To facilitate the work to speed up the translation of regenerative medicine technologies, Axiom is establishing a Winston-Salem presence by officially signing on as a tenant in RemDO’s Innovation Accelerator, with access to its test bed. RemDO’s test bed and WFIRM provide a supportive research environment for companies to develop their products and gain access to unprecedented resources.
This partnership offers the opportunity to expand the commercial space economy and support biomedical commercial innovations and manufacturing for biomedical applications in low orbit on Axiom’s space station 250 miles above Earth. Research done on the space station will be free from the constraints of gravity, providing great potential and benefits. Axiom Space made international news earlier this month with its Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) which launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ax-1 is the first of several planned missions to the ISS and an important step toward Axiom’s goal of constructing its space station to serve as a global research and commercial hub. The Axiom Station will initially be attached to the ISS and will separate from it before NASA decommissions the ISS at the end of this decade.
“This partnership paves the way for an entire commercial industry on board Axiom’s space station that will enable our scientific research teams to advance biomanufacturing to bring new treatments that cannot be developed on Earth and treatments for conditions that affect the human body when exposed to the harsh environment of space travel,” said Anthony Atala, MD, director of WFIRM. “We can literally take the regenerative medicine field to a whole new level.”
The Innovation Accelerator is a key component of the regenerative medicine ecosystem called the Regenerative Medicine Hub (RegenMed Hub™) and is positioned to be a national leader in regenerative medicine innovation. The RegenMed Hub™, based in the Innovation Quarter, brings together and draws upon the resources and talent available through the Wake Forest enterprise – Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, the School of Medicine, and the University. A number of regenerative medicine start-ups and established companies already operate in the RegenMed Hub™ and the region, offering expansive resources for entrepreneurs and life science professionals.
“As a member of the Innovation Accelerator, Axiom Space brings exciting capabilities that exist nowhere else in the world,” said Josh Hunsberger, PhD, Chief Technology Officer of ReMDO. “In addition to our initial focus, we anticipate other opportunities will result from this collaboration that will lead to regenerative medicine breakthroughs.”
Christian Maender, Director of In-Space Manufacturing and Research at Axiom Space, agreed. “We are very pleased to establish this collaboration and look forward to working together with this world-renowned team to build and expand the commercial space economy for biomedical applications in low Earth orbit,” he said. “Regenerative medicine has been identified as an important focus area for commercial space initiatives that has the opportunity to provide new hope for breakthrough treatments and aligns with our mission to improve life on Earth and foster possibilities beyond it.”